Yoono takes aggregation in a new direction

Those of us who are full – and sometimes egregious – participants in the social Web have quickly discovered that aggregation is vital in maintaining some sort of sanity. While there have been plenty of entrants in the aggregation space in recent months, the new Yoono add-on for Firefox is taking the sector in a new direction. By providing a consolidated stream of social services – FriendFeed, Facebook, Twitter and others – along with chat, Web clipping, photos and videos, Yoono aims to provide an all-in-one tool for navigating one’s online life.

The UI is what initially piqued my excitement for Yoono. It’s simply the best I’ve seen. Simple-to-navigate widgets sit in an inconspicuous sidebar that opens only when you need it, small pop-up windows give informative snapshots of contacts and updates, all clicks open to a new tab, and photos and videos temporarily overlay the current Web page in a slick little feature I hadn’t seen before Yoono. The company has obviously put a large amount of effort and focus into design and it’s welcomed. At this stage of the social Web, it’s the type of UI we should start expecting from every product.

I have to be honest, though, and say that my enthusiasm waned slightly after a few days of putting Yoono through its paces. The app can drain a lot of memory and when you’re dealing with Vista, you need every little bit. (Macolytes, I don’t want to hear it.) I’ve also found myself drifting back to the FriendFeed page to read updates; the Yoono window just requires too much scrolling.

When I brought up that last complaint to Erica Lee, Yoono’s PR rep, she made a good point: Yoono isn’t intent on taking you away from regularly visited sites. The service instead wants to give you a one-stop dashboard, a more informative, simpler place from which to navigate. Perhaps then, the lifestream in the sidebar could be consolidated more, giving aggregated shots of FriendFeed activity, for instance. An aggregation of the aggregators, if you will. Stop me before I aggregate again.

My nits with Yoono, though, are just that – nits. Because I’m so impressed with what they’re attempting and the product they’ve designed, I’m even more demanding of perfection from it. Yoono is one step away from being a must-have product on my social Web list. With what I’ve seen of the team’s focus, responsiveness and overall aggregation philosophy, I imagine they’ll leap past my expectations rather quickly.

**We’ve been given 200 Yoono invite codes for interested Guidewire readers. Click here before they disappear.**

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